Wireless Integrated MicroSensing and Systems (WIMS2)

An Overview of the WIMS2 Research Center

The mission of the Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSensing and Systems (WIMS2) at the University of Michigan is to advance the design, fabrication, and breadth of the applications for sensor-driven microsensors and systems through research, education, and interactions with industry. These technologies include: micro and nanoscale fabrication, micromachined RF filters and resonators, packaging, power harvesting, low-power circuitry, and wireless interfaces with applications in biomedical devices, chemical and environmental sensors, and infrastructure monitoring. The applications' focus and interdisciplinary nature distinguishes WIMS2 from other university research efforts. The relevance of this research is shown by the 12 start-up companies and 60 patents the Center has generated over the past 11 years.

The biomedical device research topics include a family of neural prostheses aimed at treating disorders such as deafness, paralysis, epilepsy, and Parkinson's disease. The University of Michigan pioneered neural interface technology, which is now the focus for efforts worldwide. The Biomedical Devices Thrust also includes work on microfluidic systems for medical applications such as cell sorting and lab-on-a-chip applications. This research area leverages basic research in microfabrication, low-power circuits, and wireless and RF devices.

The Environmental Sensors Thrust is centered around an integrated gas chromatograph (GC) targeted at rapid gas analysis with sub-part-per-billion sensitivity. This research leverages technologies developed in the microfabrication area. The small scale of these devices enable greater portability, lower-power consumption, and faster response time than larger systems.

The Built Environment Sensing Thrust is developing microsystems to monitor the health of buildings and bridges, and the status of aircraft fuselages and naval vessel hulls. These devices are often connected together in wireless sensor networks that can communicate, measure, and analyze. Technology from the other research areas such as power harvesting, low-power consumption, and wireless connectivity are important enabling technologies for this effort.

The Wireless Interfaces Thrust undertakes basic and applied research in wireless interfaces for microsensor applications. Topics include CMOS RF circuits, miniature antennas, and sensor networking. The applications for this work are short-range biomedical devices and medium-range moderate data rate environmental sensing applications.

The Advanced Materials, Processes, and Packaging Thrust involves developing processing techniques for traditional and non-traditional MEMS materials, such as stainless steel, vacuum and wafer-level packaging, wafer bonding, assembly and interconnect technologies, mechanical protection of microsystems, and thermal management issues.

The aim of the Micropower Integrated Circuits Thrust is to greatly reduce the power requirements of integrated circuits used in microsystems. Topics of interest include low-power digital and analog circuits, new circuit and system architectures, system software, power management, and energy harvesting.

The High Frequency MEMS Thrust undertakes research in RF MEMS, Optical MEMS, and THz MEMS from a basic science and applied research perspective. This includes advanced RF devices and microsystems, high-Q optical and acoustic resonators, terahertz modulators, imagers, and sources, miniaturized antennas, metamaterials, plasmonics, and near field optics. The microsystems developed under this Thrust have applications in reconfigurable radios, medical and subsurface imaging, satellite mapping and remote sensing, among others.

The WIMS2 Center has world-class faculty and facilities which generates world class results. Benefits to industry include:

  • Technology Transfer: Members can use Center research and new technologies to add value to products and services.
  • Intellectual Property: Center members are given preferential treatment on intellectual property.
  • Recruiting: Center members get repeated access to and referrals about our students - the leaders and best researchers of tomorrow.
  • World Renowned Researchers: Our research liaisons will introduce you and insure access to our internationally known faculty.
  • Targeted Research: You can sponsor targeted research projects specifically for your companies needs. These projects can take advantage of existing Center research and provide a significant value to members.

The advantage of WIMS2 is that it provides a convenient and cost-effective mechanism for industry to collaborate and interact with the researchers, as well as making it easier to transfer technology.

Updated 01/11/2012